Thursday, August 24, 2006

Muslim group alarmed over reports of US racial profiling

Muslim group alarmed over reports of US racial profiling
A leading US Muslim group said it was disturbed by reports that US authorities were racially profiling passengers at New York's Kennedy airport.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations said it had received three separate reports from Iraqi-born Americans alleging they were detained for up to six hours at the airport last week without justification.
The allegations came from a Michigan couple, two people from California and a New Jersey woman travelling with her five children.
The council said that it feared hundreds of other passengers had been filtered by security on the basis of their names or appearance.
It called on officials "to partner with the American Muslim community in order to ensure national security in a manner that is consistent with American values of justice and equality."
A statement from US customs authorities denied they were screening passengers on the basis of ethnicity, but acknowledged increased security over an alleged plot by Muslim extremists to bomb US flights from Britain.
"CBP (Customs and Border Protection) does not use racial profiling, however CBP officers may scrutinise more closely individuals arriving from high-risk countries," it said in a statement.
It refused to divulge why some passengers were screened, citing privacy issues, but acknowledged that there were "extremely long wait times" at Kennedy airport on the day concerned, saying heightened security was mainly to blame.


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